Abstraction is falsification?

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Re: Abstraction is falsification?

Postby MagsJ » Sun Oct 04, 2020 6:27 pm

obsrvr524 wrote:Such as humbly accepting unkindly reality. :)

How others choose to feel is up to them.. as long as it’s something that isn’t annoying to others, or doesn’t infringe on others’ human rights etc.

I don’t think that a person should dictate or suggest that another person be humble.. like Silhouette demanded of me, this time last year.
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Re: Abstraction is falsification?

Postby obsrvr524 » Sun Oct 04, 2020 6:38 pm

MagsJ wrote:
obsrvr524 wrote:Such as humbly accepting unkindly reality. :)

How others choose to feel is up to them.. as long as it’s something that isn’t annoying to others, or doesn’t infringe on others’ human rights etc.

I don’t think that a person should dictate or suggest that another person be humble.. like Silhouette demanded of me, this time last year.

I humbly did NOT point anyone out or even exclude myself.
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Re: Abstraction is falsification?

Postby Meno_ » Sun Oct 04, 2020 6:56 pm

Silhouette wrote:Just to throw some fairly insignificant facts into the mix, the Japanese for tree is 木 and forest is 森
River is 川, mountain is 山, mouth is 口, gate is 門...
Most Kanji don't look much like what they mean as far as I can tell, but you can see that the form of some symbols at least appear to have originated from approximate abstract representations of concrete phenomena.

As a point of contrast, I've always thought that the forms of Korean Hangul look a little like the mouth shapes one makes when they pronounce the sound, and they group the letters by syllable.
So while the Japanese abstracted concrete forms to visual symbolic forms, the Koreans abstracted the concrete sounds of their spoken words to visual symbolic forms - or perhaps even vice versa, but written traditions usually seem to follow oral ones.

I wouldn't be surprised if English and the Latin alphabet originated similarly, but it's clear by now that it wasn't necessary to stick to any such origins.
There is inevitably a void between the concrete and any abstract audio/visual representations, and the size of that void can be as wide as we like - simply dependent upon accepted convention.
It might matter when conventions are not accepted, or known about - cross-culturally perhaps, but languages like English have emerged more dominant and it's widely accepted that there are multiple languages and that it's up to you to learn the right ones in order to deserve the right to communicate with others.

So just to clarify about the signifier/signified distinction, there probably was a smoother transition between the two historically - but the initial distinction is necessarily there, making the abstract necessarily falsification at least in part.

But by no means does this detract from the utility of abstraction - without which we would not be able to communicate.
This is a fundamental of Experientialism - the distinction between absolute truth (Continuous Experience) and the utility of relative truth (discrete experiences).




Exactly.



"attano said:



"perspective is such if it is a perspective on something, an interpretation is such if there is something to be interpreted.
That may sound like stating the obvious, but my question is what is that ‘link’ to the ‘something’?
IOW, what makes an approximation or simplification “extremely useful” instead of wanton fantasy?'

meno says:


My guess would be usefullness, or use of an abstraction as a result of possible transitions of meanings approaching associative necessity.

I believe these expectations are hypothetical a-priori projective manifestations. ....


attano says:



"The fact that Nietzsche used words like ‘perspective’ or ‘interpretation’ shows that he was implicitly acknowledging that even if knowledge is falsification, it can’t be wholly random. The metaphor of the false ...."

meno said :

"It can be, but then again , it may be slightly more then coincidental"



Silhouette said:


"So just to clarify about the signifier/signified distinction, there probably was a smoother transition between the two historically - but the initial distinction is necessarily there, making the abstract necessarily falsification at least in part"

meno said:



Again , it is probably due to the categorical distinction that Nietzsche needed to account for, as in Kant's first critique.


Which goes down as variable probability, to an assertion of some form of a-priori admission. ( as defense for my prior -variable abstraction)- just trying to make sense .
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Re: Abstraction is falsification?

Postby WendyDarling » Sun Oct 04, 2020 7:49 pm

Magnus wrote
2) The meaning of
S
must be such that
S
can ONLY be used to represent
P
.
(This appears to be Wendy's position.)
(The word "cat" does not correspond to any given physical cat because the word "cat" can also be used to represent any other physical cat.)


So are you saying that the only thing that matters is that there is some connection to something regarded as a cat? Doesn't have to represent the same type of cat, it can mean a feline, a man, or a machine, the abstraction still represents a cat in grossly different ways and the usefulness of understanding which cat it refers to is irrelevant?
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Re: Abstraction is falsification?

Postby Magnus Anderson » Sun Oct 04, 2020 8:15 pm

Observer wrote:What if some (very many) people's brains just honestly can't handle abstract thought? I am sure that is one of the sharp distinctions between humans and animals.


I believe that to be the case with some at least in the limited sense.

Are you just going to keep arguing with them forever?


Yes. (And I could explain why but that's beside the point of this thread.)

Would you argue with a blind person over the real hue of the Mona Liza?


My goal would be for them to provide a clear argument that could be evaluated by others (as well as themselves.)
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Re: Abstraction is falsification?

Postby obsrvr524 » Sun Oct 04, 2020 8:46 pm

Magnus Anderson wrote: I could explain why but that's beside the point of this thread.

I am very interested because James put up with that kind of thing for a ridiculous length of time - years. He seemed far too aware that they would never actually change their mind yet he never slowed down except perhaps a little at the end (perhaps having completed his actual business).
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Re: Abstraction is falsification?

Postby WendyDarling » Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:15 pm

Magnus wrote
You can take the word "belief" and associate it with any concept you want. There are no associations that are true and associations that are false. Only associations that are useful and associations that are useless given a task.


This is what I'm asking about in my last post. Only associations that are useful and associations that are useless given a task. Does an abstraction have a task? How is that task known? By assumption, in the case of the word cat written on a piece of paper? By guess, in the case of the word dog written on a piece of paper?
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Re: Abstraction is falsification?

Postby Magnus Anderson » Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:46 pm

obsrvr524 wrote:I am very interested because James put up with that kind of thing for a ridiculous length of time - years. He seemed far too aware that they would never actually change their mind yet he never slowed down except perhaps a little at the end (perhaps having completed his actual business).


I remember him saying that he did it "out of compassion". That may be an adequate description of my motives too, but if someone asked me to describe my intentions using my own words, I'd do it in a different way. Namely, my aim is to bring people closer together even if that's not something that can be achieved within a relatively short period of time (perhaps not even during my lifetime.) There doesn't seem to be a need to take an antagonistic stance toward people on this forum (even though I sometimes do and used to do it much more often in the past) and being indifferent only makes sense if you have higher priorities in your life. When I have nothing else to do, and happen to be on this forum, interacting with people in a way that increases mutual understanding, even if only gradually, seems to me to be the way to go.
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Re: Abstraction is falsification?

Postby obsrvr524 » Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:00 pm

Magnus Anderson wrote:I remember him saying that he did it "out of compassion". That may be an adequate description of my motives too, but if someone asked me to describe my intentions using my own words, I'd do it in a different way. Namely, my aim is to bring people closer together even if that's not something that can be achieved within a relatively short period of time (perhaps not even during my lifetime.) There doesn't seem to be a need to take an antagonistic stance toward people on this forum (even though I sometimes do and used to do it much more often in the past) and being indifferent only makes sense if you have higher priorities in your life. When I have nothing else to do, and happen to be on this forum, interacting with people in a way that increases mutual understanding, even if only gradually, seems to me to be the way to go.

You sound like James although I still suspect that he had other ulterior motives involving world affairs and subtle effects - hidden influence, "affectance".
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Re: Abstraction is falsification?

Postby attano » Sun Oct 04, 2020 11:38 pm

Silhouette wrote:"So just to clarify about the signifier/signified distinction, there probably was a smoother transition between the two historically - but the initial distinction is necessarily there, making the abstract necessarily falsification at least in part"

Meno_ wrote:Again , it is probably due to the categorical distinction that Nietzsche needed to account for, as in Kant's first critique.
Which goes down as variable probability, to an assertion of some form of a-priori admission. ( as defense for my prior -variable abstraction)- just trying to make sense .

Kind of lost here, but I am not implying it's wrong.
Now, Meno_ maybe says it is some a-priori. I do not necessarily object, and yet is the reference to a-priori an explanation? Because it seems like opium's virtus dormitiva. (By the way, when N. refers to will-to-knowledge, I guess he's not pointing to anything a-priori in the same sense Kant did).
And when Silhouette says that the 'distinction is necessarily there', again... I might agree. Yet, would you, please, go deeper on this?

Meno_ wrote:"The fact that Nietzsche used words like ‘perspective’ or ‘interpretation’ shows that he was implicitly acknowledging that even if knowledge is falsification, it can’t be wholly random. The metaphor of the false ...."
It can be, but then again , it may be slightly more then coincidental

What Nietzsche meant is not paramount here. (If you want to discuss N., be my guest, but that's not what I was aiming at).
Can we agree that 'usefulness' is that "link to something"? Then, what is it?

Meno_ wrote:My guess would be usefullness, or use of an abstraction as a result of possible transitions of meanings approaching associative necessity.

I believe these expectations are hypothetical a-priori projective manifestations. ....

'Usefullness' is ex-post finding, If those are expectations (and a-priori), that is not what what would explain. Or... I do not mean there are no expectations involved, but in some instances abstractions are more a form of cultural atavism, it has nothing to do with a prediction or a-priori.

Let's take the notion of mass. It is not immediate and I guess we can agree it is an abstraction. Is this notion used because it is 'useful'? Probably... but why is that? That was the question.
'Mass' has some definition that makes it fit for physics. Consequently, that may be easier to explain. The concept of mass has been tinkered until it could be associated to some (stiff) definition readily applicable in science.
What about 'cats'? It may be useful to have a class subsuming a specific set of animals. But what makes 'cat' represent all instances of felis catus? knowing that the word 'cat' pre-existed the Linnean taxonomy, so we have nothing 'scientific' in it.
My take is that: a) it is a tentative-defective description of cats, retaining only certain characters; b) it is historical, it is not up to individuals to define that class, it is inherited through language; c) because of (a) and (b), it is dynamic, changeable.
Actually, in natural language the word 'cats' does not represent all instances of a certain animal, it is just assumed that it does, and 'assumed' just as a default convention. I am being very nominalistic here.

So, both 'mass' and 'cats' would not be a-priori, but historical by-products. Or maybe not by-products, and yet they exist because they have been, during some time, 'tested' somehow.
However, even if this would apparently agree with the view of 'useful abstractions', it just turns the question into 'how is it that one can spot identical characters in distinct things' - or 'how is it that a number expresses the same quantity, regardless the object'. So, the question of abstraction can be translated into a question about identity, in a world where nothing is 'exactly identical'. And, hence, we may land in truly platonic land: is there a (minimal) set of characters that makes up an 'ideal cat' against which all cats can be identified? (Obviously, approximation may come into play, but that would simply defer the question).
Is that really so? I wonder...
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Re: Abstraction is falsification?

Postby Magnus Anderson » Mon Oct 05, 2020 3:37 am

KT wrote:The symbols we have already have those other meanings in there, inevitably, if at an unconscious level. There may be people who do not have the IQ packed into their men and women symbols, but they have other distortions, due to their experiences, especially early ones and whatever propaganda (right or wrong) consciously and unconsciously absorbed.


There is no doubt in my mind that the two words, "male" and "female", have multiple meanings. There are people who define the word "male" to mean "someone who has not only male genitalia but also courage, intelligence and physical strength". Such a word-concept association is neither true nor false, the reason being that word-concept associations have no truth value on their own. It is only when you use it to represent some portion of reality that it becomes representation that is either true or false.

You can take the word "male" and attach to it any kind of concept you want. (It doesn't have to do anything with living beings.) But once you do that, any given physical object can either be represented by that word or it cannot be represented by it all depending on whether or not the given physical object belongs to the category denoted by the concept that is attached to the word. The claim put forward by Nietzsche (and those who agree with him on this particular issue) is that the word "male", regardless of how you define it, does not strictly correspond to anything real (it can do so only approximately.)

The claim is that the word "cat" does not correspond to any physical cat because of one or all of the following reasons:

1) the word "cat" does not look like any physical cat
(This is Ecmandu's position and possibly Nietzsche's.)

2) the word "cat" can be used to represent different physical cats
(This seems to be Nietzsche's position.)
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Re: Abstraction is falsification?

Postby Meno_ » Mon Oct 05, 2020 4:20 am

attano wrote:



"
Usefullness' is ex-post finding, If those are expectations (and a-priori), that is not what what would explain. Or... I do not mean there are no expectations involved, but in some instances abstractions are more a form of cultural atavism, it has nothing to do with a prediction or a-priori."

meno_ writes:


I would have been more comfortable in Your assessment in saying. it has "more form of cultural atavism, then it might with any a-priori content.

The difference between the Critique quoted above , and Nietzche transvaluation, still covers the mythological origins, raised to metaphors.

Now the question of whether intentionally , or subliminally prescribed is left to Heidegger..
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Re: Abstraction is falsification?

Postby Silhouette » Mon Oct 05, 2020 5:23 am

attano wrote:And when Silhouette says that the 'distinction is necessarily there', again... I might agree. Yet, would you, please, go deeper on this?

Sure.

All I mean is that the concrete experience being referred to (the "thing") has to be different to its representation (the "symbol"), otherwise it is not language.
It would be literally "the thing", and language would be redundant to communicate it.
To communicate something via language, it has to translate from "the thing" -> through a means of communication -> to reconnect back to "the thing" in the receiver's mind.
Language is a thing of utility.
It's not absolute truth, it's a means to relative truth.

You can't get to that utility unless there's a distinction between the signifier and signified.
There's gotta be that element of falsification to enable the transition between two distinct consciousnesses.
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Re: Abstraction is falsification?

Postby Magnus Anderson » Mon Oct 05, 2020 5:27 am

KT wrote:Someone sees a cat and thinks this is a cat.
Some long term Zen meditator just watches what is happening when she looks in the directino of what the other guy is thinking is a cat.

Now this, I assume you would say is a situation applying the abstraction (or not in the second case). But actually the person coming up with the abstraction 'cat' and few of us are the ones who create the abstractions, is in fact moving away from a more raw experience and presenting to itself a symbol with a batch of meanings that only capture part of the qualities of any particular cat, along with any other distortions. This can be radically minimized if that person is aware of all this and his or her mind, take steps to reduce map and territory confusions, but our good old primate brains will always have falsifications because we are not perfect in that way. Nor can we be as in situ creatures.


The "direct experience" that you speak of refers to a class of messages (visual, auditory, etc) that are sent by your brain to your consciousness.

These messages are generated based on what's received by your senses (eyes, ears, etc.) The process that maps what's received by your senses (light, sound waves, etc) to what you consciously experience (images, sounds, etc) is a complex one. There's quite a lot of processing going on in there. And since visual and auditory experiences represent what's outside of your body, and not what's within it, they are, in a sense, quite indirect.

In everyday use, the word "language" refers to a means by which people take what's inside their brains and place it in the outside world. It is a means of interpersonal communication -- a means for people to exchange messages between themselves. But we can take this standard definition and stretch it to also include communication between other types of things. For example, it can be stretched to encompass a means by which various parts of your body communicate with each other. What you see (visual experience) and what you hear (auditory experience) can be thought of as messages that are expressed in visual and auditory language and that are sent to you by your brain. Visual and auditory experiences, which you consider direct and perhaps even concrete, can now be considered abstract.

It is useful to differentiate between raw visual experience and visual perception. The former is no more than a two-dimensional picture whereas the latter is a perception of three-dimensional space grounded in the former. You might visually experience something like this and on its own that visual experience cannot tell you whether the physical object that you're looking at is a human being or something else (e.g. a cardboard that looks like a human being) partly because at any given point in time a physical object can only be seen from one angle. You need to think in order to be able to come to a conclusion about what kind of physical object is in front of you and that's where visual perception comes in.

Both processes can lead to a false conclusion -- that's without doubt. The two-dimensional image that you see may not actually correspond to the light that hit your eyes and the physical object that you perceive to be in front of you might not actually be there. But "Abstraction is falsification" is not making such a modest claim. Rather, it is stating that these processes necessarily lead to false beliefs because both processes "treat things that are unequal as being equal".

Magnus Anderson wrote:
Nietzsche wrote:Every concept originates through our equating what is unequal.


The above statement appears to be the statement upon which everything else rests.

The idea is that if we use one and the same word (e.g. the word "cat") to represent different things (e.g. different physical cats) we are "equating what is unequal".

"Equating what is unequal" is to be interpreted (or at least, that's how I interpret it) as "believing that what's different is the same".

Thus, when we use the word "cat" to represent different physical cats, it is said that we are claiming that all these different physical cats are in fact the same.

But that's not what happens in reality.

What we do in reality is we claim that all these different physical cats can be represented using one and the same symbol -- the word "cat".

In my mind, this settles the issue.
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Re: Abstraction is falsification?

Postby MagsJ » Mon Oct 05, 2020 7:49 am

obsrvr524 wrote:
MagsJ wrote:I don’t think that a person should dictate or suggest that another person be humble.. like Silhouette demanded of me, this time last year.
I humbly did NOT point anyone out or even exclude myself.

I did and.. you didn't.. exclude yourself, that is! :P

I think such inquiries as this, are good for maintaining or fostering an active mind, and makes for an interesting read.. the differing solutional-approaches, being even-more-so.. just like your fascination with, and insinuations about, James and his International dealings.

If a pair of, say.. designer jeans have a designer label on them, but were actually ‘made in China’, do they now become designer jeans, or is it a blatant intentional falsification? Haha!
Last edited by MagsJ on Tue Oct 06, 2020 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The possibility of anything we can imagine existing is endless and infinite.. - MagsJ

I haven't got the time to spend the time reading something that is telling me nothing, as I will never be able to get back that time, and I may need it for something at some point in time.. Wait, What! - MagsJ

You’re suggestions and I, just simply don’t mix.. like oil on water, or a really bad DJ - MagsJ
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Re: Abstraction is falsification?

Postby attano » Mon Oct 05, 2020 10:04 pm

Meno_ wrote:I would have been more comfortable in Your assessment in saying. it has "more form of cultural atavism, then it might with any a-priori content.

Yes... honestly, even I find myself less than clear now and then. It is not exactly brilliant to say 'it's not a-priori, yet it's atavism'.
However, I am not very much for the a-priori as I believe that abstractions, and hence categories, are somehow arbitrary, not in the sense that anyone can establish them, but in the sense that they have a history. Now, this is indeed a belief and I have no proof there is absolutely nothing hardwired in the way we form categories.
On the contrary, even if not a-priori in a Kantian meaning, the function of equating things (which is at the basis of forming classes) may plausibly be the response to evolutionary pressure. If an animal does not sense that anything looking like a tiger, or another predator, may be deadly, there's little chance to pass the genes to the next generations. The risk of getting it wrong is negligible in that context.
That said, I am also reluctant to a-priori's for a methodological reason. If you want to appeal to Kant, you have a whole theory of perception and that's ok. But referring to a-priori's outside the framework of some theory, it is not an explanation. It'd be like to claim an object belongs to a class because it has some mysterious 'essence', which may well exist, but only as a rhetorical trick

Silhouette wrote:All I mean is that the concrete experience being referred to (the "thing") has to be different to its representation (the "symbol"), otherwise it is not language.
It would be literally "the thing", and language would be redundant to communicate it.
To communicate something via language, it has to translate from "the thing" -> through a means of communication -> to reconnect back to "the thing" in the receiver's mind.
Language is a thing of utility.
It's not absolute truth, it's a means to relative truth.

You can't get to that utility unless there's a distinction between the signifier and signified.
There's gotta be that element of falsification to enable the transition between two distinct consciousnesses.
.
OK, fine, thank-you.
I guess I can live with that, but maybe I need some time to see how I connect the dots.
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